Cedar Ridge, Grullablue, grullo, grulla, blue roan, quarter horses, AQHA, reining, Hancock, Blue Valentine, Hollywood Dunit, Topsail

Quarter Horse Colors


Copyright Note:

Please note that all of the text information on this page was originally composed by me unless otherwise referenced, and was typed with great thought.  I have read books and many educational web sites to contribute to my knowledge base.  Some of the content was created in the late 1990's, and may need to be updated. With 300+ pages in this web site, I can't remember which pages need updates all the time. If you see an out-of-date page, let me know so I can update it.

Some photos were donated by people that have horses with color examples needed to provide educational content. For that reason, permission is not granted for anyone else to use photos from these pages.

Please feel free to link to this page, but do not copy the content and place it on your site.

Click here to learn more.
 

The Quarter Horse breed has listed 17 acceptable colors for registration of foals (as of 2006). More colors exist that aren't listed, and if you have such a foal, you should register it according to the closest genetic color option that fits what you feel the foal will be at maturity.  For example, a white horse with blue eyes that is "aa" for Agouti is really a double-diluted black. But it can be registered as a Perlino, because the correct option for a double-cream-diluted black is not offered by AQHA. 

In addition, champagne and silver dapple genes are present in some QH's, but their colors are not options offered on the registration application. Combinations of multiple modifying genes also exist, and AQHA can help you determine the best color to register your foal if you are uncertain how it should be listed. We have a palomino mare that AQHA registered as a red dun. When questioned, they said it was because they knew she had dun factor due to her sire being a 100% color producer. Although she looks like a white-maned palomino with very faint gold striping, they required that she be registered as a red dun. They have rules they must follow, so inquire if you have a question.

2006 AQHA Registrations By Color

Courtesy of Deb Black at AQHA and www.prettyquarterhorses.net
Percentages added by Cedar Ridge Quarter Horses

Color of Horse

Number of Horses Registered

Percent of Registrations

Bay

30,862

18.69%

Bay Roan

3,864

2.34%

Black

5,844

3.54%

Blue Roan

3,747

2.27%

Brown

7,660

4.64%

Buckskin

8,811

5.34%

Chestnut

13,256

8.03%

Cremello

741

0.45%

Dun

5,945

3.60%

Grey

11,659

7.06%

Grulla

1,693

1.03%

Palomino

13,022

7.89%

Perlino

234

0.14%

Red Dun

4,855

2.94%

Red Roan

5,852

3.54%

Sorrel

46,976

28.45%

TOTAL

165,114

 

The table below shows horses that meet the required genetics for each color.  Not all horses pictured are Quarter Horses, but the color genetics are the topic here, not breeds.  :-) 

The colors listed (as of 2006) are:


Sorrel
Body color reddish or copper-red; mane and tail usually same color as body, but may be flaxen. The most common color of American Quarter Horses.

Bay
Body color ranging from tan, through red, to reddish brown; mane and tail black; black on lower legs.

Black
Body color true black without light areas; mane and tail black.  Sun fading acceptable.

Gray
Body color a mixture of white with any other colored hairs; often born solid-colored or almost solid-colored and gets lighter with age as more white hairs appear.

Chestnut
Body color dark red or brownish-red; mane and tail usually dark red or brownish-red but may be flaxen.

Brown
Similar to black, but with brown on muzzle and flanks or larger area.
These browns were not DNA confirmed, and are used as examples based upon how they look.

Blue Roan
BLACK points (including head), roaned body.

Cremello
Light (or pink) skin over the body, white or cream-colored hair and blue eyes.
ee for Red Factor (genetically red-legged), but red color is diluted by two cream color dilution genes.

Palomino
Gold/yellow body and head, white mane/tail.

Buckskin
Black points, mane, and tail. Gold/yellow body. May have faint dorsal and sooting/countershading.

Grullo
Black/dark points and dun factors, black or charcoal head, silver or grayish body with all body hairs being uniform in color.

Perlino and Smoky Cream
Light (or pink) skin over the body, white or cream-colored hair and blue eyes. Mane, tail and lower legs slightly darker than body color.
EE or Ee for Red Factor (genetically, black legged) with 2 cream genes. Perlino is double cream plus Bay (AA or Aa). Smoky Creams are aa for Agouti and are not really Perlino, but are best registered as such until AQHA adds Smoky Cream as a color option on papers.

Red Roan
Red points, roaned body.

Bay Roan
BLACK points, brown/bay head, roaned body. Before 2002, bay roans were registered as red roans or blue roans, but should now be registered as bay roans.

 

White
Body color white; skin is pink; eyes are usually dark; small black spots may be found in the skin, but usually are not accompanied by colored hair. Some white horses may be variegated, meaning they have patches of colored hair, usually intermixed with white.
points-red-dun.JPG (19428 bytes)
Red Dun
A form of dun with body color yellowish or flesh colored; mane, tail and dorsal stripe are red.

Dun
Body color yellowish or gold; mane and tail may be black, brown, red, yellow, white or mixed; often has dorsal stripe, zebra stripes on legs, transverse over withers. This color would more correctly be called "bay dun."

 

 

What's the same about horses in this column?

The horses in this column all have red-based legs.  They are "ee" for Red Factor, meaning they are red based and not black based.

What's the same about horses in this column?

These horses all have at least two things in common:

  1. They all carry at least one non-red gene (black), and so have black legs.

  2. They all have at least one copy of the dominant form of Agouti, so their bodies are reddish brown/yellow instead of black or charcoal/mouse colored.

What's the same about horses in this column?

These horses all have at least two things in common:

  1. They all carry at least one non-red gene (black), and so have black legs.

  2. They all have two copies of the recessive form of Agouti, so their bodies are black or charcoal/mouse colored instead of red or brown or yellow.

What's the same about horses in this column?

This column is unique in that the colors above are not uniformly affected by one color gene. It is safe to say that they have white/extremely light hairs, but that their color is not necessarily caused by the same genes.

Color descriptions above composed with consideration to AQHA color definitions.

See our Combinations page for horses with multiple genes that affect their color.

Other Acceptable Color Dilutions

Although AQHA does not list specific registration options for certain genes, there are some color modifiers that are acceptable to AQHA. These include (but might not be limited to) the Champagne gene and the Silver Dapple Gene.

Champagne

Foals might be registered as buckskins, palominos, and grullos even though they are genetically not the same.

 

 
Mottled skin, green/yellowish/amber eyes. Diluted hair coat.

 

Silver Dapple

Foals would be registered as bay and chestnut in most cases, and a few might erroneously make it in as palominos. Learn more here.

Only expressed on horses carrying a non-red gene or two non-red genes (EE or Ee) . Mane/tail flaxen or mixed.


Bay silver ponies (above)


A silver dapple, on a black base, APHA mare that is homozygous for black.
Genetically tested EE aa nZ.


Silver dapple on black as a foal (Agouti = aa)


Silver Dapple + Grullo + Cream (Agouti = aa)


A Silver Grullo, with both the Silver Dapple and Dun Factor genes (and he happens to have a cream gene, too!).


A "true" silver grullo: Silver Dapple + Grullo
(aka silver black dun and various other terms)


 

Photo Ownership Notice:
All of the photos on this page are the property of Cedar Ridge QH's or were sent to us with permission.
If someone has sent a photo to us for use on our pages that belongs to you,
and if they did not have permission to do so, please let us know.
If you are interested in contributing a photo, we thank you! But please do not alter the photo or place your contact
information on it. Our educational pages are for just that...education. Not advertisements. Thanks!


Equine
Color and Genetic Testing Labs

There are many laboratories in the US and around the world that do horse color testing, disease testing, etc. When you choose a lab, make sure it is a reputable one! There are several university-related labs, which I recommend, and many private labs (some of which can NOT be recommended!). Here are a few I'm familiar with:

University Laboratories:

Private Laboratories:

  • Animal Genetics, Inc. http://www.horsetesting.com/Equine.asp

  • Pet DNA of Arizona: http://www.petdnaservicesaz.com/Equine.html ONLY tests for Brown in horses (1/2010)

  • PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE THIS LAB, BELOW, in my opinion:
    DNA Diagnostics (aka Shelterwood Labs, and also affiliated somehow with Catgenes.Org)
    http://www.dnadiagnostics.com/  DNA Diagnostics/Shelterwood Labs offers a test for multiple characteristics at one price. I had seen a fair bit of chatter online about how they cash the checks and don't give the results of  the test. So, I tested them by paying for three horse tests. Guess what...they sent back two of my horses' test results and after 4 1/2 months, the third was still missing in action! Repeated phone calls and e-mails were ignored by the lab. Finally, five months after the test, someone gave me the results for the third horse. 
    If you choose to use this lab, my opinion is to only send them as much money as you are willing to lose, in case you don't receive your results. Update: A friend just called that used this lab and she still hasn't received her results after many months of waiting, phone calls, and e-mails. 3/2010. I know of another horse that tested homozygous for black that is not homozygous, as he has produced sorrel and palomino foals. In both cases, Shelterwood does not return their repeated phone calls.
     

How To Donate Your Educational Photo:

  • If you are wondering what color your foal is, click here. We are having a lot of people send us pictures for this page where it is obvious that the foal owners don't know what color their foal is. Please, only send us photos for this page if you know your foal's color. If you don't know what color your foal is, click here.

  • This is an educational page, and photos should show a safe environment and healthy horses. I don't even know how to respond when I receive photos of wormy, skinny horses in pastures littered with abandoned cars, farm equipment, wire fences laying on the ground, and falling-down buildings. I simply can't put photos like that on an educational page like this, where people come to learn.

  • Please note that this is not intended to be a free opportunity for you to advertise your breeding operation, and instead is an educational page. We will not use photos with watermarks/writing on them. There are many free advertising sites on the Internet at which you can advertise your farm/ranch/horses. Also, only send photos of foals you own. This way, there won't be copyright problems.



Feel free to click the "Send Your Photo" logo at the left
to send a good photo or two to us for inclusion on our color pages.

 

 

Photo Ownership Notice:
All of the photos on this page are the property of Cedar Ridge QH's or were sent to us with permission.
If someone has sent a photo to us for use on our pages that belongs to you,
and if they did not have permission to do so, please let us know.
If you are interested in contributing a photo, we thank you! But please do not alter the photo or place your contact
information on it. Our educational pages are for just that...education. Not advertisements. Thanks!

 

 

This page last updated 11/15/12
If you notice this date being 2 years or older, please let us know that we need to check out this page!

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Toni Perdew       Bedford, Iowa
info@grullablue.com
712-370-0851 cell, before 9 p.m. CST  (NO telemarketer calls)

PLEASE
do not call us on the phone with color inquiries for your own horses.
See link to the Color Pages if you have a question about your own horse or foal's color.

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